Akin unavailable to pitch after receiving stitches in finger

Orioles pitcher Keegan Akin lost his chance to come back to the majors for a spot start after cutting his left index finger in a kitchen accident that required stitches.

Manager Brandon Hyde confirmed the injury earlier today in his Zoom call with the media.

Wade LeBlanc got the assignment tonight with Akin unavailable as an option.

Hyde said Akin sliced the finger after breakfast.

“He’s got stitches for a week to 10 days,” Hyde said. “It was somebody that we would have probably considered to make the start today.”

Thumbnail image for Akin-Delivers-Gray-Fenway-Park-Sidebar.jpgAkin has been pitching at the alternate camp site in Bowie. He allowed two runs and three hits over three innings in a start against the Nationals, throwing 58 pitches and retiring the last eight batters.

The Orioles optioned Akin in spring training after he surrendered 10 runs and 15 hits with seven walks and 14 strikeouts in nine innings. They wanted him to focus on sharpening his command and being more aggressive in the zone.

Recalling Akin would have led to a corresponding roster move. The Orioles could have sent him down Wednesday with Dean Kremer’s return.

It’s a moot point with Akin’s injury.

LeBlanc hasn’t thrown more than 24 pitches in his five relief appearances, but his past work in the rotation made him a logical candidate.

“It’s somebody that’s started in spring training, started last year for us, has a lot of starting experience, and on the roster right now and somebody who can give us a few innings. So we went with Wade,” Hyde said.

The Orioles are pushing back John Means to Sunday’s finale. His regular turn would have put him on the mound last night.

“Just to give him an extra day,” Hyde said. “Long season, we’re going to give guys extra days. All of them when we can. We were going to need a spot start anyway and we decided to give John one more day like we will the rest of the year.”

The Orioles avoided their third shutout in four games last night, but have scored two runs or fewer in their last five losses. They’ve posted a .222 team average with a .636 OPS this season that’s the second-lowest in the American League behind the Tigers (.634).

Their 72 runs scored are fourth-fewest in the league.

“I think collectively we have a lot of guys that are just trying to do too much, and we’ve been saying it now for a week to 10 days,” Hyde said. “You saw that bases-loaded, nobody-out situation last night. Everybody just trying to be the guy, trying to be the guy to really get us over the hump offensively, and we’re expanding the strike zone.

“We talk a lot about it. That was part of our pre-series meeting yesterday. A big part of it was strike zone discipline management, taking one at-bat at a time and one pitch at a time. And we just have a lot of guys that are trying to make up for the start of the year with one at-bat, and that’s not how it works.

“Pitchers in this league, if you show that you’ll expand, they’re just going to keep expanding on you until you bring them back into your strike zone. Hopefully we can get back to that as a group and put some good at-bats together collectively.”

Hyde keeps moving players up and down the lineup and trying new combinations, though options are limited with a three-man bench. The Orioles could dip into their alternate training site roster at Bowie.

“As of tonight, we’re going with what we’ve got, with who’s here, and hopefully we can put a bunch of good at-bats together and come out with a victory tonight,” he said. “We’re day-to-day. We’ll go from there.”

Chance Sisco is catching tonight and trying to break a career hitless streak against the Athletics that’s reached 14 at-bats. He’s appeared in eight games this month and is slashing .130/.167/.130 (3-for-23) with no walks and 10 strikeouts.

Sisco is 3-for-3 throwing out runners attempting to steal.

“He’s off to a slow start offensively,” Hyde said. “Doesn’t have a ton of at-bats, still really early. Like what he’s done behind the plate. I think he’s improving defensively. He’s one of our guys that is just trying to do a little too much offensively right now, and hopefully he can string some games together.”

There isn’t much of an update on Rule 5 pitcher Mac Sceroler. He’s on medication to get rid of the inflammation in his right shoulder and hasn’t been cleared to throw.

“He’s progressing,” Hyde said. “Shoulder’s feeling a lot better.”

For the Athletics
Mark Canha LF
Jed Lowrie 2B
Matt Olson 1B
Matt Chapman 3B
Ramón Laureano CF
Stephen Piscotty RF
Sean Murphy C
Mitch Moreland DH
Elvis Andrus SS

Chris Bassitt RHP

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